Franschhoek, South Africa

How to Plan an Environmental Holiday

Franschhoek, South Africa

What is an environmental holiday?

It’s never been more important to consinder our environmental impact when travelling than right now where the planet is overheating and action must be taken. With wildfires, droughts and flooding being experienced all over the world, we must collectively commit to travelling more consciously sustainably and in a more eco-friendly way. It’s time we all planned an enviromental holiday.

I’ve been doing some research, thanks in part, to my 11 year old son Alexander, who is leading the way in this house, on climate action, after studying the subject at school. He’s been helping us recycle, encouraging us to buy from charity shops more often and he’s even changed his eating habits limiting meat and prioritising plant-based foods.

I’ve been looking into global ecotourism initiatives and resources to help us plan future holidays for his sake, and ours, so do check out my tips below.


What exactly are environmental holidays?

Environmental holidays, also known as eco-friendly or sustainable holidays, are trips or vacations (if you’re in the US) that focus on minimizing the negative impact on the environment and which promote conservation and sustainability.

These getaways aim to provide travellers with ways to explore and enjoy natural environments while respecting and preserving them. You don’t compromise on adventure and fun but you do so in a meaningful and responsible way.

For example you would plan wildlife watching, nature walks, sustainable accommodation, and engaging in local conservation efforts whilst away.

We did this when we visitied South Africa in 2019 spending time at nature reserves which have saved and protect the animals they house there.

The essence of environmental holidays lies in fostering a deep connection with nature while actively contributing to its preservation. Wonderful.


The importance of environmental holidays

As we’re all aware, environmental conservation and sustainability have become critical global priorities. By choosing an environmental holiday, you can contribute to the preservation of natural habitats, the protection of wildlife and supporting local communities that rely on ecotourism for their livelihoods.

Environmental holidays help raise awareness about the significance of sustainable travel practices and encourage responsible tourism, reducing the negative impacts of traditional tourism on the environment be it opting to travel by foot or boat rather than plane, choosing destinations closer to home, and staying in accomodation which is committed to green practices.

Waste and carbon emissions increase massively during the peak holiday season but small changes can have a huge positive impact on our planet. Now is not the time for apathy but action. You can find out more here.

Plus, environmental holidays are truly a gift for all the family.

They allow you to immerse yourself in natural settings, fostering a sense of appreciation for our planet’s beauty and the need to protect it for our own children and future generations.

These holidays can also provide a platform for education, allowing us to learn about environmental conservation and sustainability through firsthand experiences, guided tours, and interactions with local experts. Teaching our children to be good stewards of this earth is something that will last a lifetime and be passed on from generation to generation.


Planning an eco-friendly vacation

Planning an eco-friendly vacation involves careful planning so the trip aligns with sustainable principles. When selecting a destination, you should research and choose locations that offer opportunities for eco-friendly activities such as walking in national parks or nature reserves, or eco-lodges for example.

Check that the accomodation has eco-friendly certifications, use renewable energy sources and implement waste reduction and recycling practices before you book. Many do.

You can also support local communities by engaging in responsible tourism activities such as purchasing food and handicrafts from local artisans, participating in community-based ecotourism projects (such as beach clean ups) or dining at restaurants that promote sustainable, locally sourced and seasonal food.

Additionally, you can reduce your environmental impact by packing reusable and recyclable items, minimizing single-use plastics, and conserving water and energy during your stay. Hopefully you are implementing these practices in every day life too. If not, start today!


Sustainable transportation options for environmental holidays

Choosing sustainable transportation is obviously you’re first priority and key. Opting for eco-friendly modes of travel such as trains, buses, or carpooling can significantly reduce the carbon footprint of your journey.

In cases where air travel is necessary, you could consider purchasing carbon offsets to mitigate the environmental impact of your flights.

Additionally, exploring destinations through walking, cycling, or using public transport not only minimises emissions but also allows for a more immersive travel experience.

Discovering how the locals live, rather than being stuck in commercial resorts or areas brings with it an authentic, enriching travel experience like no other. E

at, enjoy and shop like a local to gain a deeper cultural and more memorable experience.


Tips for reducing your environmental impact while travelling

Packing light helps conserve fuel and reduce emissions during transportation. We like to roll up our clothes and opt for the lightest footwear. This also cuts travel costs too and not needing to pay extra luggage fees.

Being mindful of water and energy usage, supporting local conservation initiatives, and respecting wildlife and natural habitats are essential elements of responsible and sustainable travel.

It is also crucial to dispose of waste responsibly, recycle whenever possible, and refrain from disturbing the natural surroundings. By adopting these simple yet impactful ways of living whilst travelling, you can make a positive difference during your environmental holiday.


Eco-tourism initiatives around the world

Across the globe, numerous eco-tourism initiatives are making significant strides in promoting environmental aware travel.

From community-based ecotourism projects in rural areas to wildlife sanctuaries and marine conservation efforts, these initiatives offer travellers the opportunity to engage in meaningful and impactful experiences.

In regions such as Costa Rica, Iceland, and New Zealand, eco-tourism has become a driving force for sustainable development, allowing visitors to witness breathtaking natural landscapes while contributing to local conservation efforts.

Moreover, wildlife reserves, national parks, and protected areas worldwide are increasingly focused on eco-tourism as a means to generate income for conservation activities and support local communities. By participating in these initiatives, you not only enrich your travel experiences but you also play a vital role in preserving the planet’s biodiversity and natural heritage.


Resources for planning environmental holidays

Do some research. There are tonnes of online platforms dedicated to sustainable travel be it comprehensive guides, eco-friendly accommodation options, and recommended eco-tourism experiences in different destinations. World Nomads provides a list of simple, actionable tips on everything from eating smartly and well, to being more considerate and kind, and more.

Additionally, eco-travel agencies and tour operators specializing in environmental holidays can assist in creating customised itineraries that align with sustainable principles and support local conservation initiatives.

Eco-friendly travel blogs, forums, and social media communities offer valuable insights, tips, and firsthand experiences shared by fellow eco-conscious travellers so soak up their advice.

These resources can help you  make informed choices, discover hidden eco-friendly gems, and connect with like-minded individuals who share a passion for sustainable travel.

As the global movement towards sustainable travel continues to gain momentum, environmental holidays serve as a powerful means to promote environmental awareness, foster conservation efforts, and cultivate a deep appreciation for the natural world.

Where will you travel to next?

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